June 28, 2019

RIKEN to open a subsidiary company to commercialize its work

Hidetoshi Kotera, Executive Director, RIKEN

I have some exciting news to report regarding RIKEN’s future collaborations with industry—we are currently working toward the establishment of a private-sector subsidiary company that will take charge of innovation and the transfer the discoveries made at RIKEN into forms that can be put to the use of society. A law went into force early this year that allows RIKEN to invest in innovation companies, and we are taking the necessary steps now to take advantage of this opportunity.

The establishment of the new company is part of our efforts to achieve the goals set out under our current mid- to long-term plan, which began in April 2018. One of the major pillars of our new mission is to “maximize research and development achievements,” and several of the tasks listed under that mission focus on strengthening innovation. To promote collaboration within RIKEN, we have established an engineering network and finalized comprehensive joint research agreements with six national universities in Japan through our Science, Technology and Innovation hub, and are now planning for the new company to strengthen ties with industry.

I want to stress that this new focus on innovation in our current seven-year (mid- to long-term) plan is, in essence, a return to RIKEN’s roots, as we were established in 1917 primarily with the aim of contributing to the development of Japanese society and industry. In the pre-war period, a number of companies were established based on RIKEN technologies, and some of them remain international players today in their respective fields.

Also, I hope that some of the articles in this issue, in particular, the Feature Highlight focusing on Zhaomin Hou’s work on self-healing materials (page 26), will give you some insight into the work that we do today that could benefit society. I encourage you to approach us if you have ideas on how we can work together on innovative technologies.

(RIKEN Research 2019 Summer issue)